If Harley Flanagan’s recent memoir (which, by the way, is an excellent read) whetted your appetite for further tales of fighting with found weaponry, godawful living conditions and a decidedly un-gentrified Lower East Side, then the news that Roger Miret’s book My Riot: Agnostic Front, Grit, Guts & Glory is set to arrive via Lesser Gods next August will cheer you up. Given that Miret’s story starts in Castro’s Cuba before the New York experiences, it’s the stuff of movies. In fact, the Kickstarter funded Agnostic Front documentary The Godfathers of Hardcore should be out around the same time as Miret’s autobiography. I’m addicted to these things — unlike those atrocious footy top boy and gobby UK gangster memoirs, NYHC books are anecdote after anecdote of confrontations and tear ups with a bit of heart behind them. As a bonus, Miret also seems to have obtained a foreword by no less than Phil Anselmo too.
I remember reaching the age where I was overthinking things by 2003, pondering whether we’d ever be nostalgic for what seemed like a really trashy, overexposed time for popular culture. Besides D-Block, Hov, 50, Kanye, State Property, DavidBannerDavidBannerDavidBanner and Dipset, plus expectations for the likes of Saigon, I don’t recall sensing that I’d ever look back at that era’s heavily marketed output with any real fondness. Continue reading SOURCE AWARDS
The abundance of 60 minute plus podcast conversations out there, soundtracking my working day, means that a lot of behind-the-scenes characters are getting their opportunity to tell the stories I’ve always wanted to hear — familiarity from another angle always seems fresh, instead of the usual assumptions or third-hand storytelling. Tremaine and Acyde’s No Vacancy Inn Soundcloud account is an informational treasure trove if you pick the right episodes. Chicago-raised model, producer, DJ and doer Lono Brazil’s name has cropped up over the years, but I’ve always wanted to hear his story in a more comprehensive way than the brief videos and bios on the web. Brazil was an original Stüssy Tribe member (Albee Ragusa is another Tribe legend I want to hear more about too). The self-proclaimed subcultural Forrest Gump has been in a lot of interesting situations at the right time, and his role at Capitol Records put hm in the middle of some very interesting mid 1990s hip-hop projects. We might focus on the youth when it comes to cultures, but with age there’s anecdotes and an abundance of inspiration.
God bless social media. Even a modest following contains some knowledge kings and Nick Woj (of Cold World/Nervous Juvenile) is no halfway culture kid. Nick cleared up an age-old mystery for me with the most logical answer I’ve heard for it. You’ve probably seen Dennis Hopper’s 1980 film Out of the Blue if you visit this blog a bit, because it’s a cult favourite round these parts (not least for Hopper’s mad performance, that matches Frank and Feck for wild-eyed mania) — this Canuck production one-third slow-burner, one-third teen punk classic and one-third memorable melodramatics. Continue reading PUBLIC ENEMY & STENCILS
We’ve covered this here before, but I buried it with a load of other strange topics. You can see JA and friends’ throwups and tags in a lot of NYC films, documentaries and TV shows from the late 1980s and early 1990s based on their sheer ubiquity, but it’s the other curious on-screen places they’ve ended up that are mind-boggling. If the quest was to find that visible, hard-to-reach spot, an alleyway in the Shrek the Third‘s computer animated Kingdom of Far, Far Away or the questionable future ghetto of Elysium‘s 2154 Los Angeles were pretty impressive seeing as they don’t actually exist. Continue reading XTC MEETS ROCKY
Big up Kyle Lilly for uploading a little slice of locally broadcast hip-hop fashion history. Video Explosion was a Yo! MTV Raps style show that, as I understand, was screened regionally from Queens. There’s a lot of great footage from the program out there, but this clip features DJ Finesse getting his Fab 5 Freddy on and visiting the Shirt Kings store in Jamaica Queens’ Coliseum Mall to interview Kasheme and Nike (this seems to be a post-Phade iteration of the business) from the crew with a giant microphone. If you haven’t already picked up the book from a couple of years back, do it before it becomes extortionately priced in specialist stores or on Amazon Marketplace — it’s an essential document of an important moment in streetwear history. An expansion into London is mentioned here and it’s something I wish I’d seen happen. You don’t see a lot of footage of the Shirt Kings store in action, even if it’s a later version, so this is very rare indeed.
NOTE: I wrote this a year ago and it was meant to run somewhere else in its entirety, but it never happened. Looking through the replica of Japan’s 1976 issue one of Popeye magazine the other month and spotting the One Star (before it was called the One Star) reminded me that I should probably throw it up here.
Simple design has a curious habit of affecting subcultural style. The blank slate approach allows for statements to be made far beyond a design’s original intent and the humble athletic shoe in its most stripped-down form has long held a tendency to connect with the most discerning and critical audiences possible. You can’t buy credibility, just as you can’t preempt those moments when the everyday becomes a must-have. In this case, a basic basketball shoe design found its purpose beyond the court. The Converse One Star’s impact is substantial, despite being a relative failure on its original release. Continue reading HOW THE CONVERSE ONE STAR WAS BORN AGAIN (AND AGAIN)